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Valuing the Early Childhood Professional - Annual Conference

Valuing the Early Childhood Professional – Annual Conference

February 21, 2017

Saturday 1st April: Annual Conference

-O’Brien Science Centre, UCD

Research has clearly established that the key indicator of quality in early childhood education and care is the educator. In Early Childhood Ireland we are acutely aware of the responsibilities of the role and the need to feel supported, respected and valued. This conference is about drawing attention to the enormous contribution you make to children, families and communities.




Running Order

>> 8.00 – Registration and Market Expo
>> 8.30 – Breakfast AGM
>> 9.30 – Welcome and Opening Address: Minister Katherine Zappone TD
>> 10.15 – Keynote: Laura Henry
>> 11.15 – Coffee Break & Market Expo
>> 11.45 – Masterclass 1
>> 12.30 – Lunch and Market Expo
>> 1.45 – Masterclass 2
>> 2.30 – Panel Discussion
>> 3.15 – Pobal Presentation on Capital Grant Funding Applications
>> 3.45 – Inspiring Practice 
>> 4.30 – Close


Keynote: Laura Henry

Who is Laura Henry?

Laura Henry is a leading, award winning expert in Early Years education, both in the UK and internationally. For three decades she has supported colleagues who work directly with children, parents and companies. She also works with organisations that provide services and expertise to children and families. She is a highly regarded and popular trainer and author.


What will Laura Henry be speaking about?

In this keynote address, Laura Henry will discuss the unique needs of the child and how educators can support children with their holistic developmental needs. Laura will also reflect on the importance of educators knowing and owning their own personal reflections and thoughts on Early Years and how this is key in how they work with children.




Each of the Masterclasses, delivered by experts in their fields, is on a topic closely linked to the theme of the Conference: “Valuing the Early Childhood Professional”. You will choose the two Masterclasses you wish to attend on the morning of the Conference:


1. Mary Skillington – Galway-Mayo IT

In Search of Wellbeing for Early Childhood Educators

The best gift we can give to children is to nurture our own well-being. This masterclass will focus on the main sources of stress in the Educator’s work and consider a toolkit of strategies for both personal management of stress and for driving change within early childhood settings.


2. Lee Herlihy – Horizons Montessori

Supporting Montessori Settings to Engage with Aistear

In this Masterclass Lee Herlihy demonstrates how she engages with the challenges of Aistear and supports children’s learning using an emergent, enquiry-based approach. She draws both on the Montessori philosophy and Aistear’s principles.


3.  Dr. Mary O’Kane – Maynooth University

Supporting the Transition to Big School

This masterclass will consider the findings from research regarding early childhood transitions and identify key roles for the Educator in ensuring that children have the experiences and supports for moving on and making life-enhancing transitions.


4. Dr. Emer Ring – Mary Immaculate College

Implementing the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM)

This Masterclass supports settings implementing the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM). It will explore the concept of inclusion and provide key signposts to support early years’ educators in their practice.


5. Tom McDonagh – Adare HR Management

Staff Support and Supervision

Tom McDonagh, Senior HR & Employment Law Consultant with Adare HRM looks at the importance of staff support and supervision in a sector with a staffing crisis and highlights how support and supervision can form part of an effective staff retention strategy.


6. Michelle O’Donnell Keating Social Entrepreneurs

Resilience and Personal Effectiveness

This Masterclass will explore the need for business owners and managers to mindfully build resilience into their personal development plans. It will also look at how best to manage your own personal health and wellbeing while working in a fast moving and challenging environment.


7. Deirdre Rogers ReCreate

The Arts as a Curiosity

Deirdre will explore the natural process of investigation that children use to learn about their world. Through a short presentation and fun hands-on activities she will demonstrate how as adults we can engage with young children through artistic practices that provoke curiosity.


8. Laura Henry Laura Henry Consultancy

It’s all happening before three!

Working with babies and toddlers: Within this masterclass for educators, we will explore how to support babies and toddlers with their care, learning and welfare. Discussing the importance of the role of the educator in practice.



Conference Partners


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